I give up on trying to learn East Asian Languages at this school. I cannot take a class with that teacher, I’m not nearly neurotypical enough to, so Japanese is out. And the Chinese teacher…
Over the break before the semester started, I emailed him about pronouns. As I do with all my teachers. After an interaction that ended with him failing to get back to me, he decided that while he “understood my view” he wasn’t going to do it. In class, not only have the students used the incredibly triggering “she” for me, so did he. One girl picked up on all of it and corrected someone to “he” once. It should tell you the state of the world that that was probably the most heartfelt thank you anyone has gotten from me.
Mandarin, which is just spoken*, has a neutral 3rd-singular pronoun for all. “ta“, with a high flat tone. Should be ideal, right?
No. I know that the people using it think I’m a girl, so it’s now triggering. I’ve never been in favor of only one pronoun, but times like this remind me of why I want gender-implying pronouns. Or even if not gender implying, respect implying. And I don’t give a damn if cis people think they’re being respectful when they smash my identity under their heals and pour salt into wounds that may never heal- they aren’t. I don’t know how to fix this, I realized it one day and wanted to throw up.
I don’t have the spoons to try again with him. I’m finishing this semester, and that’s it.
The way the class is being taught, I should be able to teach myself well enough after it’s over. I have a few people I could get to know better who speak Mandarin Chinese way better than me. I would say natively, but I know one hasn’t been from birth and I don’t know when it counts as natively. Better than me, at least. I don’t know how well I can keep in contact if they go back to China over summer, but I’ll try.
This is upsetting for me. I would’ve liked to minor in one of them, I’m not very good at teaching myself (although at least with Japanese, my partner intends to become a Japanese teacher). This world doesn’t believe you can teach yourself. I’m going to try to get the school, specifically that teacher (apparently, for some reason, she’s allowed to make all decisions when people try to go to Japan), to let me go to a University that has a program specifically for people who have little to no knowledge of Japanese (and also teaches Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese) for my year abroad so my partner and I won’t be half a world away.
*the written Chinese language, if you can read it, can be read no matter what dialect is spoken by the writer. There are probably differences in writing style, but the words are the same because they’re characters. I think simplified vs traditional isn’t as easily understandable, although not all characters effect.
The Chinese language has 3 written 3rd-singular pronouns- one for men, one for women, one for inanimate objects. I am totally okay with being called the inanimate object one if it’s done with respect.